LOGAN, Utah - Utah State men’s and women’s basketball will host Primetime Madness on Thursday night, providing Aggie basketball fans a sneak peek heading into the 2017-18 season. The night will include scrimmages by each team, a shooting stars competition, a 3-point contest and various promotions throughout the event.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will be sponsored by Maceys. Spectrum doors are set to open at 6 p.m., with activities and free giveaways on the concourse.
“Primetime Madness has grown in the eyes of our team. It’s an event that is fun to play in and fun to attend,” women’s head coach Jerry Finkbeiner said. “It will show the wares of the teams that are going to be playing here right around the corner. There will be lots of fun, lots of action and lots of prizes. It’s a nice event to put on every year.”
The night will begin with the shooting stars competition, a competition between four teams comprised of a student and a member of the men’s and women’s teams taking shots ranging from a layup to half-court. The women will then scrimmage, followed by the men. The night will wrap up with a 3-point competition, determining the top perimeter shooter among the men and women.
“It is always fun to get our guys in front of the public for the first time,” men’s head coach Tim Duryea said. “It is great for them and great for us. It will give us a scrimmage to put on tape, in a different environment that we can grade and show them and it is something they can learn from. We always look forward to that, having a little fun and meeting the public. It is a good night for us.”
The men’s squad returns seven letterwinners, including four starters from last season. In the mix is 2016-17 Mountain West Freshman of the Year Koby McEwen, who finished second on the team with 14.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. The total was the most since Jaycee Carroll averaged 14.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game as a freshman during the 2004-05 season.
Joining McEwen, in arguably the best one-two punch in the backcourt in the MW, is Sam Merrill, who wrapped up his freshman year third on the team in scoring with 9.4 points per game and led the Aggies with 98 assists, finishing seventh in the nation with an assist to turnover ratio of 3.27. Senior guard Julion Pearre and sophomore guard Diogo Brito also return in the USU backcourt, providing depth and experience.
Utah State returns a pair of frontcourt players in senior Alex Dargenton and junior Quinn Taylor, as both appeared in every game for the Aggies last season. Dargenton led Utah State with 34 blocks last season and finished third on the team with 4.7 rebounds per contest. Returning junior center Norbert Janicek will be unavailable for the 2017-18 campaign after undergoing season-ending knee surgery in the off-season.
Utah State will benefit in the return of three redshirts in freshmen forwards Klay Stall and Daron Henson, and freshman guard Abel Porter. That group will be joined by five newcomers in junior college transfers Dwayne Brown, Jr., and DeAngelo Isby, who will enter as juniors and have two years to play, and freshmen Brock Miller, Crew Ainge and Justin Bean, who are returning from LDS Church missions.
The women’s squad returns eight letterwinners from last year’s roster, as well as two players who redshirted the 2016-17 season. Among those are all five starters, along with two other players who saw multiple starts a year ago. Headlining the returners is sophomore guard Eliza West, the 2016-17 Mountain West Freshman of the Year, junior guard Rachel Brewster, who led the Aggies in scoring last season en route to honorable mention all-Mountain West honors, and sophomore forward Shannon Dufficy, a member of the Mountain West all-freshman team last season.
Utah State men’s basketball news and information is available on Facebook (facebook.com/usumen’sbasketball) and on Twitter (@usubasketball). Fans can also get USU men’s basketball highlights on YouTube (youtube.com/utahstateathletics). Fans can follow USU women’s basketball on Twitter, @USUWBasketball, on Instagram, @USUWBasketball, as well as on Facebook, at /USUWBB. Aggie fans can also follow Utah State Athletics on Twitter, @USUAthletics, on Instagram, @USUAthletics and on Facebook at /USUAthletics. Aggie fans can follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter (@usuathletics), on Facebook (facebook.com/usuathletics) or on Instagram (@usuathletics).
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